DAHLGREN, Va. –
In any organization, whether academia, nonprofit, industry or government, embracing the role of mentor in a work environment means providing vast support and dedication to developing the workforce. Becoming the person that a team member can approach to ask questions, to seek advice and to guide along a career path results in many rewards for all involved.
Often times, mentoring requires going above and beyond the needs of a project or program and connecting with an individual or team on another level. Although the definition of the role varies from organization to organization, the mission and goals are undoubtedly similar: establish best practices and an effective support system to develop and maintain a successful workforce.
For William “Bill” Connell, fulfilling the mentorship role is not simply part of the job but, he feels, an honor and privilege to serve those he works with. Connell serves as a Certified Scrum Master – instructing and supporting several software development teams in adhering to agile scrum procedures – for various projects for the Sensor Software Engineering Branch at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD). In this position, Connell serves as mentor and workforce liaison.
The term scrum refers to the framework that is specifically built around the agile philosophy and is designed to give a software development team a set of tools to support in sustaining the agile process. Think of the agile scrum model as a framework– detailing the intentions and process – that the software development team can customize to support their project and environment. As Connell stated, “Agile is the general philosophy, scrum is a set of principles and tools that support that philosophy.”
Collaborative efforts between Connell and the software development teams ensures that the programs progress effectively at every stage. “The individual teams follow the agile scrum model for their software development; how they decompose their work, execute and report out that work. I oversee each of those individual project areas, coaching them through the process and ensuring they have the necessary resources to accomplish their mission.” said Connell.
As a naval technical project manager, he works with several teams to develop software systems for projects such as the Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) program. Currently, the G/ATOR Software Support Activity (SSA) team is expanding its role as the lead software development entity for the G/ATOR program.
Through his work as a technical project manager and serving as a Scrum Master, Connell provides a wealth of expert knowledge, engages and interacts with the software development teams on multiple levels and encourages innovative solution based thinking.
Having established best practices for working remotely, Connell utilized virtual platforms for communication and collaborated with various teams across the warfare center, continuing the progression and development of software systems.
Connell received recognition for his mentoring efforts and team work leadership and is the recipient of the 2021 Alan J. Dean Award for Talent Management for NSWCDD. This award is part of the Warfare Centers Awards, recognizing individuals and leadership teams for their excellence in providing innovative and extraordinary contributions for the advance development of programs across the warfare centers.
According to his award citation, Connell is presented with the esteemed award for his “contributions achieved through mentoring and team work that raised the standards for the software development processes across the Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar Program following its successful transition to Agile Scrum.”
In addition, Connell is bestowed the title “Scrum Master of all Scrum Masters” and attributes his team and colleagues with the recognition. “I am super thrilled, very grateful and thankful, but I want to emphasize the work the individual software teams do, which continues to be extraordinary. The focus should really be on the guys and gals that are turning the wrenches and making this happen,” said Connell.